Clinton puts pressure on North Korea

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IN HIS bluntest language yet, President Bill Clinton has warned North Korea it will not be permitted to develop nuclear weapons and has told its leadership that any attack on South Korea, where the United States has 35,000 troops, 'is an attack on the US'.

In an interview on NBC's Meet the Press yesterday, Mr Clinton sidestepped a question on whether he was considering a pre-emptive strike on North Korea's nuclear installations if it continued to refuse United Nations inspections. But he said: 'This is a very grave issue for the US.'

The President added that Washington was doing 'everything we possibly can' to solve the problem, including talks with Japan, South Korea and China. The North Korean problem will be high on the agenda of the Sino-American summit in Seattle later this month, and is a key factor in the drive to improve relations with Peking.

Mr Clinton was speaking less than 48 hours after warnings by senior Pentagon officials that North Korea has been increasing its military forces near the demilitarised border zone, further increasing the threat posed by a force already structured for a swift attack on the South.

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